He was a rare community voice and was admired and respected by many for his fearless candor. While talk radio was perishing in most markets, Harold Davis and the “Butt Naked Truth” enjoyed a national audience. Talk radio and com- munity development will not be the same without him. Evelyn Bloomberg (Evelyn Anne Peter- son) also passed away on April 12 from the coronavirus; she was 90 years old. Evelyn was born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where her parents were Christian mis- sionaries. During World War II, Evelyn and her family were prisoners of war from November 1941 until the end of the war. In October 1945, the family boarded a US troop transport carrying soldiers returning to the US. They arrived in New York City in November 1945. Evelyn was 16 years old. She eventually became a nurse and worked in several hospitals in Michigan and in Oak Park, Illinois for nearly 60 years. Evelyn loved singing and sang in many choirs throughout her life. Recently, she lived in Chicago and was cared for by
the Little Sisters of the Poor. Walter J. Blase’s colleagues considered him the epitome of a public servant. He served our nation in the VietnamWar. He was a retired Deputy Chief of Niles and Palatine Rural Fire Departments. His col- leagues wrote that he was a hardworking man who inspired generations of firefight- ers during his decades of service to subur- ban fire departments. He passed away at the end of April; he was 78 years old. Roberto Escobar worked at El Mila- gro, a tortilla factory on Chicago’s West Side. He immigrated to Chicago from El Salvador as a teenager. During April, Mr. Escobar’s parents traveled from El Salva- dor to Chicago to visit him and his wife. It was the first time they had seen each other in nearly 20 years. The family’s joy quickly turned to sorrow, as Mr. Escobar contracted Covid-19 in April, during a period when several other co-workers had tested positive. His parents and wife tested negative for the virus. Mr. Escobar passed away Friday, May 1; he was 37 years old, with no pre-existing conditions.
Tarah Frieson said, “My mother was my everything. She was my rock.” Wanda Bailey passed away in early April, a week after her younger sister, Patricia Frieson, was Illinois’ first resident to die of the coronavirus. According to family members, nearly every time Wanda Bailey saw her son, she would cry as if it was the first time she had seen him. “It was so warming to know that you were loved,” her son Tarah said. Ms. Bailey was 63 years old and lived in Crete. I began this Bar year by discussing the importance of relationships. For years, I have personally advocated for principles of diversity, working to emphasize the common traits that make us Americans, versus those traits of difference. However, I never imagined that collective grief, loss, and suffering from a pandemic would become a unifying principle. Certainly, the pandemic continues to underscore life’s precious and fleeting nature and the importance of our most treasured human connections. Now, more than ever, we must seize each day.